Monthly Archives: August 2011

Caribou Masturbator

So I’ve been meaning to write about something that happened last weekend, and was just reminded by the fact that for the past HOUR, while I sat in the Caribou Coffee on 18th and M on a conference call, a man at a table near me stared (leered is more accurate) and eventually began touching himself and aiming his crotch toward me.

Given the angle I was sitting, and the fact that I was plugged into an outlet and in the middle of a work call, I could neither avoid seeing him nor move. Extremely uncomfortable, suffice it to say. This was a middle-aged man in fairly nice clothes – an Oxford shirt and khakis, with a gold watch and loafers. He made a pretense of reading a paper but every time I looked up from my computer he was staring at me, or some part of my body. Unfortunately, he left just before I did – I had already planned to say, on my way out, “Staring the way you were is incredibly rude, and I don’t think you’d want anyone staring at your daughter or sister the way you were at me.” A major understatement, mind you, but I thought it would get the point across and was as much as I was comfortable saying. I wish I had gotten the chance. I gave him a few nasty looks, but it was a very helpless feeling.

That wasn’t even the story I planned to tell, but now I’m a little worn out. Sheesh! Can’t a girl get a break?

Submitted by Meredith I. on 8/17/2011

Location: 18th and M St NW @Caribou Coffee House

Time of harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Creepy Jokester

I was waiting for friends to go see a movie when an older man eyed me then walked over.

“Would you like to hear a joke about the movies?”

“No, thank you.”

“It’s clean, you could tell your mother this joke.”

“I normally don’t tell my mother jokes I heard from strangers.”

“Well, there’s this-“

“There’s no way I’m getting out of this, is there?”

-Blank stare-

I walked away. I instantly felt ashamed that I hadn’t just heard him out, that I should have done the “nice” thing and let him tell his joke. But then the shame was replaced with the rational though of NO! I don’t need to listen to STRANGE MEN tell me CREEPY JOKES.

Don’t let your socialization that you should be “nice” allow you to submit to unwanted advances and harassment.

Submitted by HG on 8/16/2011

Location: 11th and E St NW@E Street Cinema

Time of harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

“Girl, I’ll dog you like Tiger Woods!”

Early this summer, I was walking back to my neighborhood with a set of golf clubs; I had picked them up after having them repaired. A delivery man carrying a box yelled to me in a lusty way as I walked past him, “Girl, I’ll dog you like Tiger Woods!” I took this to be an aggressive reference to non-consensual anal sex.

Submitted by B on 8/16/2011

Location: 19th and Q Streets

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

What the What?

On Friday I was walking down the street when someone spit out of the vehicle next to me, barely missing me. I looked around for the perpetrator and gave him a dirty look. His apology, “Sorry, I didn’t realize you were so sexy.”

Submitted by AH on 8/15/2011

Location: Florida Ave NW and Connecticut Ave NW @On the streets

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Elevator Harassment

I was harassed today in the elevator of my office building.

I was riding to the deli in the lobby. The door opens at the second floor and I awkwardly step out and then back in, realizing I had the wrong floor. The person getting on the elevator was a young man wearing the uniform of a certain shipping company. He laughed and said “Did I trick you?” I laughed and said “You sure did.” I thought the guy was just trying to make conversation or flirt a little.

But then he says, “You seem like a nice person who can take that kind of joke, not like someone who’s gonna like punch me in the face for something like that.” I chuckled and said “Nahh I wouldn’t do that.” He said, “I’m sure you’d be able to throw a good punch though,” and SQUEEZES MY BICEP. My arms were folded, so he was very very close to grazing my breast as well.

The doors opened and I power-walked into the deli. He followed me to the deli, which he did not have to walk through to exit the building. He joked, “I’m not stalking you, my truck is parked on this side.” I stopped at the salad counter, and he stopped behind me. “I also have to tell you that you look so beautiful today.” As he was walking away, I muttered a whispered “thanks” under my breath, too intimidated to say nothing but too shocked to stand up for myself.

I was so shaken, because that encounter went from elevator banter to him touching me in less than a minute. I wish I had the reaction time in that moment to say something. This was the first time that uncomfortable flirting, cat calling or random “complimenting” has occurred at, on or near my workplace, and this was the first time that it resulted in someone touching me. Frankly, I was scared. I told my human resources manager about what happened, and she is going to call the company to make a complaint against the employee.

I already get cat called often in DC and had an unusually high volume of unwanted and harassing male attention in OCMD this weekend. I am at a point where I’ve really had enough. I am growing increasingly angry at our patriarchal system normalizing the objectification of women to the point where we are regularly afraid or uncomfortable around men in our public spaces. We don’t want “compliments” from strangers. We don’t want to be harassed. This type of behavior is just not okay. It makes us feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and vulnerable. My body is not yours to stare at, discuss or touch.

Submitted by Anonymous on 8/15/2011

Location: Bethesda, MD @Office Building

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Glover Park Starbucks Harasser

I was standing in line for coffee. I sensed a man come up behind me, but he was standing too close. In my periphery, I could see him moving his hips. He started breathing heavier. He told me my behind looked good in my pants.

Maybe I felt confident because I had people around me; I mustered up the courage to address him. I turned to him and asked, “Excuse me?” He asked, “Oh, is what I said too sexual for you?” I replied, “Yes.” I don’t know why, but he started to leave the store. “You just don’t get enough comfort, lady,” he yelled. The best thing I could yell back was “You just don’t know how to talk to women!”

Not many people in the store reacted, but the manager came from the back and asked what happened. The other workers directed her to me. She apologized for what happened, asked if I was OK and if I wanted to call the police. I was still mad about someone talking to me like that, but this manager really calmed me down when I was most shaken.

The same man came back a few weeks later to flash someone at the same store.

Submitted by Claire on 8/15/2011

Location: Wisconsin Ave NW & Hall Place NW (Glover Park) @Starbucks

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Pss, Pss!

I was taking my 2 mile walk to work in sweltering heat. I was in a tank top and jeans, nothing notable especially given the weather. I passed two construction workers. They started making that “pss pss pss” sound that people use to call cats. At first I didn’t think it was for me, but I didn’t see anyone else around.

I was so offended that they would use a sound for animals to get my attention, I flipped them off. I was miserable to begin with because of the heat, and they went beyond my limit. They shook their heads and both said “That’s mean, that’s mean.” What about treating a woman like an animal? That’s not mean? My blood still boils thinking about it. These guys looked to be about 40, old enough to know better or even have daughters of their own.

Submitted by Claire on 8/15/2011

Location: Courthouse, Clarendon Blvd and Uhle Street (VA)

Time of harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.